Frank Nides from Facilities Administration and Aurore Simonnet of the NASA Education and Public Outreach competed as a duet in the 30s age group, winning first place in their category. Simonnet also won 1st place in the solo category as well as placing 2nd in the team competition. Each category has a technical and a free routine that the swimmers must perform. The tally from both routines determines the final placement.
Simonnet, who has been a synchronized swimmer since the age of 13, recruited Nides a little over a year ago to partner with her for this event. They met during open rec swimming hours and Simonnet, impressed with Nides' swimming skills, thought he would make a great duet partner. Nides' started swimming at the age of 5 for the Northwest Aquatics in Tucson AZ. Nides thought synchronized swimming would be an interesting challenge and a something new to try. Since then they have been using the open rec time to practice their routine, coached by Sharon Mills from the Redwood Empire Synchronized Swimming Club.
"As a coach it is such a pleasure to work with people who truly enjoys what they are doing and are willing to put in the time and hard work it takes to be the best they can be," said Mills.
What made Simonnet and Nides' partnership even more unique is that synchronized swimming has very few male participants. Nides, bolstered by winning a gold medal, is already looking forward to next year's event.